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[Editorial] Rising Approval Rating, Unsolved Tasks

Posted March. 30, 2005 23:21,   


President Roh Moo-hyun’s approval rating is on the rise. According to a recent survey conducted for Cheong Wa Dae by Media Research, 48 percent of the 1,500 respondents answered that “the president is doing a good job in state administration.” It was only last year when the president’s approval rating remained below 20 percent while ideological conflicts abounded and the disclosure of past wrongdoings erupted confusion. I hope that the upward-looking approval rating will play a positive role in the stable administration of state affairs.

However, current tasks are not being met at an increasing rate of fulfillment commensurate with the approval rating. For starters, the Dokdo issue that is said to have contributed to increasing the approval rating. Despite a series of stern remarks from President Roh, the Japanese minister of education took a step further by saying, “Textbook education guidelines should state that Dokdo is a part of Japanese territory.” This shows that words alone are not enough in resolving diplomatic matters.

The six-party talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue are also not making progress. Even though Deputy Chief of National Security Council Lee Jong-suk visited China, it remains to be seen how much effort China has made in persuading North Korea to return to the table. On the contrary, North Korea’s Prime Minister Park Bong Ju, who visited China shortly after Mr. Lee, signed an investment treaty with China and boasted of a strong North Korea-China relationship.

If the Korea-Japan conflict and the North Korean nuclear issue continue to drag on, it will be difficult for Korea to protect its reputation and interests amid the rapidly changing orders of the Northeast Asian region. Restoring the Korea-U.S. ties is an urgent issue. Korea should resolve the Korea-Japan relations and the North Korean situation on the basis of the Korea-U.S. ties. Nevertheless, President Roh’s mention of “[Korea’s] role as Northeast Asia’s balancer [independent of the Korea-U.S.-Japan relations]” does not seem to be making much difference in resolving the current tasks.

Prospects for the economy also remain bleak. Despite signs of recovery, various indices are, for the most part, leveling off amid high oil and raw material prices. These are some of the reasons why President Roh should not focus too much attention on the rising approval rating. More than ever, the president should tackle national tasks based on grounded reality and exert efforts to resolve issues by hitting at their cores rather than beating around the bush.